For many readers who grew up in the 1980s, Marvel’s G.I. Joe #21 stands out as one of those rare comics that changed, or informed, the way they viewed the medium — or, at the very least, made them say, “Wait, you can do that?” (Alternately, “Wait, is this a printing error?”) Titled “Silent Interlude,” the 1984 issue by Larry Hama is notable not only for introducing the ninja Storm Shadow but for telling the story of Snake-Eyes’ infiltration of Destro’s castle without using a single word balloon, sound effect or caption. Hence, “Silent Interlude.”
Now, nearly three decades later, The Sixth Gun collaborators Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt are paying tribute to Hama’s modern classic with a silent issue of their supernatural Western from Oni Press.
“And here’s the strange part … the kismet, if you will. We knew we were going to do this issue at this point in the story,” Bunn writes on his blog. “What we weren’t sure is how the issues would break down. And neither of us had the numbering for that great issue of G.I. Joe in mind. Awhile back, we were signing at a comic book shop. We mentioned our plans for a silent issue to the manager. He quickly replied, ‘Is it gonna be issue 21? You know, like G.I. Joe?’ Brian and I quickly started doing the math in our heads and realized that, yes, Becky’s invasion of the stronghold of the Knights of Solomon would be happening around that point. It was a pleasant surprise for both of us. How’s that for unintentional awesomeness?”
You can check out a preview of the issue on Bunn’s website. The Sixth Gun #21 goes on sale next week.